Thursday, March 29, 2018

The "Myth" of Dragon Quest Explained!

*deep breath* DRAGON QUEST XI HAS A NORTH AMERICAN RELEASE DATE!

Sorry. I'm really excited about this news. Dragon Quest is one of the few series that I latch onto and appreciate for sticking to what it does best: classic kick-ass JRPG. But it never feels old or repetitive. The stories and characters always change. The battles more epic. The combat more commanding. And with every iteration, Akira Toriyama's (Dragon Ball, everything Dragon Ball) artwork becomes reality. I love this series probably as much as Final Fantasy. And this is one where I didn't jump into it until Dragon Quest VII.

Dragon Quest has always been an odd fascination to us in the West. It's a franchise highly lauded in Japan and throughout Asia. So much so that there has been a longstanding rumor that a lot of people will call out from work/school on DQ release days to play it. Not on the level of Halo 3/4 like we've seen here in the states. There is a significant lack of productivity that affects the Japanese economy when a new Dragon Quest game is released.

It's even spawned an urban legend that the Japanese government created a "Dragon Quest Law" to force SquareEnix to publish future DQ games on Saturday only, to prevent future economic concerns. Executive producer for the series Yuu Miyake spoke with IGN about the myth. (The truth is DQ Law became an internal change with the company and Nintendo to push releases to Saturday to help their consumers, starting with DQ 3.)

But we rarely see the games make their way over here. It's been better over the past decade, and we did get a couple of remakes on the Nintendo 3DS. Generally speaking, DQ has never quite found the footing in North America. Miyake believes that the lack of NA interest was Enix (at the time) not putting as much effort into overseas promotion. Some of it could be timing as well, he remarked. Final Fantasy didn't really take off in the West until FF7 and the PS1. DQ was a strict Nintendo product for some time and took a while to convert to disc. By the time that happened, NA and EU gamers were focused on more Westernized products. Gimmicky promotions with DQ games, such as demo discs for Final Fantasy, helped push sales, but never on the level as Asian countries.

Though the times have changed, DQ remains and it's still every popular in the East. Hopefully one day that success translate to the West. I can't wait for September to roll around and finally get my hands on this game!

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